Aston's ups capacity in £10 million expansion

A £10 million investment programme at Aston Manor cider has brought extra production capacity and doubled staff numbers.

The company bought the site at Tiverton in Devon when its former occupant, Devon Cider Co, went into receivership in 2009.

Aston Manor has increased the head-count at the site from around 40 to more than 80, boosted production to 2.25 million litres a week and provided the capability to handle some 20 different products and a range of pack formats.

A new canning line aligns cans so they are presented front first to the consumer. The site’s bonded warehouse can store around 6,000 pallets of finished product.

Birmingham-based Aston Manor’s brands include Frosty Jack’s, Kingstone Press, Malvern Gold, Knights and Crumpton Oaks and it is a significant player in own-label and contract cider production, including Duchy Originals. Sales grew from £79 million in 2010 to £106 million in 2011.

Managing director Peter Ellis said: “We are a nimble operation with the capability to make the products that consumers want and that support our customers.

“If we see an opportunity, we are quick to evaluate its potential then move to make it happen. If that means significant investment as it has in Devon then we will do that.

“The people and the plant at Tiverton reflect the strengths of our business – a focus on quality of operations, flexibility in approach, and a determination to succeed. What has been achieved has helped to transform Aston Manor.”

Site director Paul Clifford added: “We will need more of the same as we look to invest further in warehousing capacity, and replace kit with cleaner, quieter and more efficient technologies.”

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